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House of Mystery #11

Posted: Monday, March 9, 2009
By: Alex C. Lupp

Matthew Sturges
Luca Rossi, Jim Fern, Lee Loughridge (c)
Vertigo / DC
Plot: The Conception makes an offer to Rina. Fig’s dad, Peter, tells us the story of the “City in the Space Between,” and also confronts Harry. It appears that Peter may know more about Harry, more than even Harry knows about himself.

Comments: House of Mystery has been consistently good since the beginning. With each arc and each short story presented it has not once failed to satisfy. The shorts are always delightful romps through fantasy worlds. This one in particular, “The City in the Space Between” succeeds in just eight pages to introduce a world rife with political intrigue, as well as a tragic love story caught in the middle. That’s a lot to squeeze in a pretty small space, and the fact that Sturges succeeds is a testament to his skill as a writer.

Otherwise, the new arc, which begins with this issue, looks to be quite promising. There’s a lot going on, ranging from the Conception scheming, to Peter being somewhat of a bastard, to a deepening mystery surrounding Harry, and all the while Fig seems to be in the center of it all. And all of it is beautifully rendered by Luca Rossi’s art and Lee Loughridge’s colors--not to mention that Jim Fern’s work in the short-story is also really good, and fitting for the story being told.

My only fear surrounding this series stems from the very nature of the story being told. As much as it can be labeled as a horror story, it is first and foremost a mystery. Thus, as much as we learn each issue, what keeps the story going and our interest as a reader at its peak is the ongoing quest of answers. Eventually, those answers will come, and when they do it may become difficult to convincingly continue the story. Unless, of course, a new gimmick, a new threat, or some-such is introduced, but the inherent danger is that it will feel contrived. That’s a danger that faces most comics, even most shows on television (look no further than Lost), and given the tightly plotted nature of this book a danger it might face. What I mean, is that because of the tight nature of the story, effectively the overarching plot which has been ongoing since the first issue, it seems to be working its way towards an already planned ending--so here’s hoping that’s the plan, and that it doesn’t continue into mediocrity.

Final Word: This is a wonderful series steeped in fantasy, horror, and mystery. Definitely worth giving a try, but, on account of the ongoing plot, it is not all that friendly to new readers. Thankfully, these days TPBs can catch you up.



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